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wickedwahine11
09-08-2011, 03:45 AM
I got my Kamaka uke back from the factory last week, where I had sent it for repairs to a seam that was opening up. They fixed the seam and also refinished it (there had been a bubble in the finish from the last time they refinished it so they fixed that too, as well as some scratches on the back).

I was really happy to get it back but bummed that they had switched out my saddle to a compensated one without asking me, and had left some gritty, white cloudy spots in the finish in places.

I called to tell them and was told, "I don't know what to tell you, you will just have to send it back." luckily, they then put Chris Kamaka on the line and he apologized and said he would buff the uke for me and switch the saddle back. He said I could try buffing the swirls out with my polish kit. I did and it worked so now I just needed the saddle swapped back. Since it cost me almost $100 bucks to ship it last time, I'm glad I am going back to Hawaii next week and can just take it with me.

So I was playing it yesterday and noticed that now the SEAM is coming apart again! Once more, you can feel where the book matched top parts meet. I dont know whether to scream or cry but I am frustrated as hell. They charged me $104 for the repairs, and the uke was delivered back to me only 9 days ago and is already the seam is raised again - I'd say about half the length it was when I sent it in, though it isn't as deep yet.

I don't want to be without it another six weeks, and I certainly don't want to pay again, or pay another $100 to get it shipped back to me. I don't know whether to call and tell them (she will probably just say the same thing again), or just take it in on Monday. I know I'm a pain in the butt to them, but nine days and $104 in fees later and it is already doing the same thing again.

Edit: a friend mentioned it could be due to the hot/dry weather here in LA. I'm hoping that is the case and I have it with a humidifier now. Hopefully that will seal it up again.

Ronnie Aloha
09-08-2011, 04:22 AM
Auwe Staci. You have been so patient with this but Kamaka has to make things right. They should do it free of charge and throw in some swag or a refund to boot. You are their most loyal patron and it pains me to hear of your tribulations. God luck!

GKK
09-08-2011, 04:31 AM
I agree, Kamaka should make things right.

There's no excuse for that kind of workmanship especially with their reputation. Be patient (I know, easier said than done) and in the end your Kamaka Uke will be perfect!...

molokinirum
09-08-2011, 05:13 AM
Aloha WW... oh yes, take the uke with you to Kamaka and talk to them face to face and show them the problems. That way everyone will be on the same page with the repair!!!
Good luck! I was just there, picked up my repaired vintage pineapple and they did a wonderful job, very happy with the repair. Talked with Fred Jr & Chris and they were pleased with the repairs done.

Ronnie Aloha
09-08-2011, 05:44 AM
I don't believe the humidity levels drops that low in L.A. for too long. Perhaps for short periods but I've never had an issue with cracking on my ukes. If the humidity drops way low then I throw in a few clay humidors but that's about it.

mds725
09-08-2011, 07:33 AM
How disappointing that the seam has returned. I imagine that if you show the seam to the people at Kamaka (rather than just tell them about it on the phone) they'll realize that they didn't fix as they had promised. Since you paid to have the seam fixed and the seam is still broken, Kamaka shouldn't charge you to fix it again (and they really shouldn't charge you for shipping it back again, either). They seem like really nice people. I've met Chris, who borrowed my ukulele teacher's stand-up bass to perform at the Northern California Ukulele Festival this past April, and he seemed really nice. I'm betting that they'll take care of you.

strumsilly
09-08-2011, 08:09 AM
Seems like they could learn a thing or 2 from KoAloha. Sorry about your problems, I know how frustrating it can be when your baby is sick.

wickedwahine11
09-08-2011, 08:36 AM
Seems like they could learn a thing or 2 from KoAloha. Sorry about your problems, I know how frustrating it can be when your baby is sick.

Yeah, I don't mean to disparage their ukes, I think they make fantastic instruments. Everyone knows I'm a Kamaka fangirl fanatic. I like my KoAloha a lot, but I absolutely LOVE my Kamaka. That is why it is so frustrating for me to have to possibly turn it back over for more time in the shop.

And Chris Kamaka is a real sweetheart. He and Fred Jr. were both cool to me. I have had both good an bad experiences with the front office staff though. So yeah, if there is one area where I do think KoAloha stands head and shoulders above Kamaka, it is in their customer service/repair work/warranty issues.

But that HF3 just speaks to me -- the sound, the dimensions, the playability. And I still love their history. Heck, I have tons of their tshirts, three of their Reyn Spooner aloha shirts, and I even have that Norman Rockwell-esque artwork of Sam Kamaka framed in a koa frame in my office. So Kamaka fangirl. Yeah. But currently a frustrated/disappointed one.

I know they will make it right, it might just take a while. And while I agree with Ronnie, it seems odd that humidity could cause it to start to reopen so soon, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that is the issue and it will fix itself so I can just go in Monday and get my old saddle back.

Thanks a lot for the comments guys. I love UU for a lot of reasons (lessons, buying tips, etc.) but the sense of community is so great here. While my family knew I was frustrated, I knew that here on UU I would find a group of people who could feel my pain. You guys rock. Thanks for being an ear to vent to, and a shoulder to lean on during my frustration.

itsme
09-08-2011, 04:58 PM
Aw, Staci, I'm so sorry to hear that. I know how much you love this uke.

Makes me wonder if after two failed attempts at a factory repair, the uke didn't have a defect from the get-go.

I really hope they get it right, and soon.

wickedwahine11
09-08-2011, 05:01 PM
Aw, Staci, I'm so sorry to hear that. I know how much you love this uke.

Makes me wonder if after two failed attempts at a factory repair, the uke didn't have a defect from the get-go.

I really hope they get it right, and soon.

Thanks, I appreciate it. In fairness to Kamaka though, they have only tried to repair it once. The first time it was in their shop was just to go from a satin to gloss finish.

foxfair
09-08-2011, 05:33 PM
Try to find Chris and talk to him directly, I guess that he probably doesn't aware of the horrible custom service in front of his shop/customers. I didn't mean to fingerpoint at somebody, but hey... you paid the money and deserve a quality service back. If there is any improvement area for Kamaka's customer service, there is also our responsibility to remind them.

dkcrown
09-08-2011, 05:34 PM
Hiya Staci,
Sorry again to hear about your repair issues with Kamaka. I also tend to be very patient and nice/polite when dealing with people involving customer service issues. And as you know, I am also a Kamaka fan. But there comes a time when the squeaky wheel gets the grease. All you are asking for is what you have already paid and waited for, a repair and refinish done right. When YOU pay to have your ukulele refinished(twice!), and you are told that YOU should buff out the imperfections after you get it back, that is unacceptable. And when the repair fails after nine days, same deal. They should pay for the shipping both ways and take care of the problems ASAP.

Kamaka is not doing thenselves any favors with their customer service . The bar has been set high by KoAloha and most other manufacturers. But what you are looking for is not above and beyond service. You are just looking to get what you paid for.

Gillian
09-08-2011, 06:10 PM
I just checked the humidity in Los Angeles and Honolulu.

Both were 63% so humidity is not a factor.

cletus
09-08-2011, 06:10 PM
But what you are looking for is not above and beyond service. You are just looking to get what you paid for.

Well spoken, thank you.

wickedwahine11
09-09-2011, 09:27 AM
I just checked the humidity in Los Angeles and Honolulu.

Both were 63% so humidity is not a factor.

Wow, I'm surprised it is that high. Although I'm in Pasadena where it is usually drier, and hotter than LA. Case in point, we had weather around 100 degrees the last few days (before cooling off today) while my Mom in Culver City was about ten degrees cooler.

So I examined the uke again today and I think the best way to describe it is that it almost feels like a bump or lump in the spot where the seam repair was done. It isn't pulling apart (hence the humidifier wasn't doing much to "close" it). It just feels raised in that area, and actually like a bump in the uke. It doesn't affect the sound at all, or the aesthetics. If you didn't run your hand over the injured part you wouldn't even know it was there.

I figure I have to take it in on Monday to get my old "non-compensated" saddle put back on it, and I'll just have them feel it. I have a horrible feeling that they are going to say it is just like a scar, something that is inherent in how they fixed it. If it never opens up and is just raised I suppose I can live with it, rather than have them do a second attempt at fixing it.

But part of me kind of feels like for $100 it should be like new -- not with a little lump in it. I guess that is what I get for babying that uke. Only I will ever know the imperfection is there, and I guess I can get used to it. Unless of course, it is a mistake and they will repair it for me. I'm certainly not spending another penny there -- if they will fix their repair for free so be it. But between the $100 in shipping and $100 I paid for the repair I'm not really eager to drop more cash on it if it won't damage the uke and is purely a cosmetic lump.

mds725
09-09-2011, 10:34 AM
But part of me kind of feels like for $100 it should be like new -- not with a little lump in it.

This is the part of you that should do the talking when you take your ukulele to Kamaka. i'd hand them the ukulele and ask them to diagnose the problem. If they give you a diagnosis, ask them how they think the problem happened. Then, in a nice way, you should tell them that you thought the repair wouldresult in a like-new instrument because they never said it wouldn't. I think that if the repair was going to leave a "scar," you should have been told either before the repair was made (if they knew the repair would result in a bump) or once the repair was completed. If they shipped it out with the bump, they didn't repair it properly, and they should have told you about it beforehand. If the bump showed up after they shipped it to you, then the ukulele may have some other problem that may or may not have been caused by the repair. You're entitled to the ukulele you paid for, which didn't have the bump.

consitter
09-09-2011, 10:35 AM
This is probably a bad way of putting it, but KoAloha has a much more liberal policy. If you are the original buyer, unless you just run over it with a car, they fix it no questions asked. If you're NOT the original buyer, from what I understand, they normally fix it anyway. Not knowing the Kamakas, I can say for sure the Okamis know where there bread and butter come from and they take care of that. I'm NOT saying the folks at Kamaka have lost sight of that, but when I read the answer you got when you called, "I don't know what to tell you, I guess you'll just have to send it back." I was astounded. I'm just used to the Aloha that's an everyday thing at Koaloha, I just thought all the Hawaiian uke makers were like that. You don't have to talk to them face to face either. Phone or email will do. It stinks that you're having problems with your prized instrument.

wickedwahine11
09-12-2011, 10:06 AM
I just got back from Kamaka, where I spoke with Chris Kamaka directly. I have to say, while some of their customer service is hit and miss, Chris Kamaka is a wonderful guy. For starters, he swapped out my saddle (removing the compensated one and putting the regular one back on).

Then he came out and told me that he had examined the uke, and he wasn't sure what is causing the raised bump at the seam. He thanked me for bringing it to his attention, and said that I should keep an eye on it for a few more weeks to see what happens. He said that it is not a structural issue that would affect the sound, but if it gets worse he will definitely take care of it and fix it.

The bad news is that he thinks fixing it might require replacing the top entirely if the last fix didn't work. To which I exclaimed, "Oh no! But I love my curly koa!" He smiled and said that he would replace it with koa of similar curl. I asked if I should just leave it now, but he said not yet, to keep watching it.

To be honest, if my head wins put, I would say I should have them fix it again, even if that means losing my current top. But truthfully, my heart says no. It isn't affecting the sound, and aesthetically, if you don't feel it you would never know it was there. And I would hate to have them replace the koa top with wood I didn't like as much, and to have it done sight unseen.

So I told him I will be back in Oahu in October and if it changes I will leave it with them then, I am actually hoping it just stays the way it is, just because I love the looks and sound of this uke so much, and such a radical "plastic surgery" would change the entire nature of this uke. But I am really glad I took it in, so at least he knows the issue exists, plus, it confirmed I wasn't crazy as he acknowledged it wasn't perfect, so at least he is on notice.

dkcrown
09-12-2011, 10:17 AM
Thanks for the update, Staci. That is a true dilemma you have. I would hope that it stays stable and doesn't need replacing. Not only will it change the look of your uke, it will obviously change the sound of it as well. Did he say that if it stays stable, they could take care of the "bump" in the seam for you? How did you make out with the cloudy finish issue? Were you able to buff it out or did they take care of that for you?

wickedwahine11
09-12-2011, 10:42 AM
Thanks for the update, Staci. That is a true dilemma you have. I would hope that it stays stable and doesn't need replacing. Not only will it change the look of your uke, it will obviously change the sound of it as well. Did he say that if it stays stable, they could take care of the "bump" in the seam for you? How did you make out with the cloudy finish issue? Were you able to buff it out or did they take care of that for you?

Naw, I think it is either live with the bump or have the whole top replaced. He said he could try to repair it again from scratch I guess, but it would probably necessitate the replacement since whatever they did this time caused the bump. I should mention it isn't a huge lump, but it is noticeable if you run your hand over the seam area.

As for the white gritty cloudy stuff, I was actually able to get all of that off myself, so the finish is fine now.

chiefnoda
09-12-2011, 11:08 AM
The bad news is that he thinks fixing it might require replacing the top entirely if the last fix didn't work. To which I exclaimed, "Oh no! But I love my curly koa!" He smiled and said that he would replace it with koa of similar curl.

Hi

If it ever comes to that (and I hope not), you can always request the old top be saved and given to you (free of charge of course). You can then frame it to appreciate the beauty.

Cheers
Chief

itsme
09-12-2011, 12:23 PM
To be honest, if my head wins put, I would say I should have them fix it again, even if that means losing my current top. But truthfully, my heart says no. It isn't affecting the sound, and aesthetically, if you don't feel it you would never know it was there.
But you know it's there and probably in the back of your mind it'll always bother you a bit.

But if it comes down to it, I like chiefnoda's idea of framing the old top. :)

Ronnie Aloha
09-12-2011, 01:11 PM
You could place your old soundboard over your uke stand!

foxfair
09-12-2011, 01:41 PM
Glad that you bring some good news back, and yeah I'm still skeptical that you should fix the raised bump now. Not only about the looking, and you may lose the original sound.. I have an idea: Use a camera to shoot the same spot of the raised bump every week(you have to setup a precise location for shooting environment), and if the problem still persists with your feeling before next visit to Oahu -- show the pictures to Chris. Maybe by luthier's eyes he can find something. But I really hope that you wouldn't need to do the top replacement, just too risky to me.

mds725
09-12-2011, 02:21 PM
Hi Staci,

What a dilemma for you. Not to change the subject, but I once had a shoulder problem, and the orthopedist I went to for it suggested a surgical procedure to shave off the end of my collarbone, which she said was rubbing my shoulder blade, causing irritation. I got a second opinion from the orthopedic practice that was, at the time, the consulting orthopedists for the San Francisco Giants baseball team. The shoulder specialist there said that whatever I had wouldn't get worse if I waited, and I could always have the procedure later. It turns out that rest resolved my shoulder issue. My point: If the solution to your ukulele's issue is to replace the soundboard, waiting isn't going to make things worse unless the bump is caused by something that affects other parts of the ukulele. If the worst that can happen is that the bump gets bigger, the solution to that problem wouldn't be any different than it is now. If you can live with the bump and you like the wood in the soundboard, wait and watch, and if the problem does get worse you can fix it then. Maybe, under those circumstances, Chris would let you pre-approve the replacement soundboard.

wickedwahine11
09-12-2011, 03:15 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. I'm more than willing to live with the bump, as attached as I am to this uke I'd rather have it with a lump than completely change it in appearance and possibly sound as well. And I agree, as long as it doesn't impair anything or get worse, I'd rather keep it as is - I appreciate the shoulder analogy.

That being said, I like the idea of framing the soundboard or gluing it to my music stand in the worse case scenario. Hopefully though it is just a battle scar and will never have to cone to that. :)

Hurricane Ramon
09-12-2011, 11:54 PM
27962
Scares me - - I have a very early 1950s Gold Label Kamaka with need of a top repaired or replaced , I hope they can save the top since it's still pretty flat over all and also because the wood is so beautiful , really sweet looking blond kine .

The carved rounded back has a very hard to find separation you have to really look hard to find it . The top of the bridge has a dull sound till you put a finger on it at the first string and then it rings evenly with the tones of the other strings .

I'm in southern California way south in the desert , it's brutal here , you have to be on top of protecting your acoustic instruments here , when I found this Kamaka it was sitting all alone in a thrift store cracks and all with a $14.00 :drool: tag on it and a written " as is " . Sounds great even with the cracks and the dull bridge area . Got it three months ago .

Maybe I should go to Hawaii ( I used to live there on the Big Island Hawaii ) and deliver it myself and enjoy a stay there till they finish the work :)

I love camping in Hawaii , outer islands that is - Oahu - way to many da kine . Maui No Ka Oi - But Big Island Mo Bedda ! Hard to camp when I go cause my old braddas offer me a place to stay and that's cool but I miss the side of Hawaii you get to live and taste when you camp on the beaches and the jungle rain forests there . I will probably camp Kauai's north shore and Maui's Hana side and then hit the Big Island and then on my way back hit Oahu and see if it's ready like I hope it will be . I will take a month off , hope the repair turn around time works out with a month off there . You need a month to really get the feel of the Hawaiian Islands - the people & their food & music are to be treasured . Fishing there is out of this world , I learned to scuba dive there too and that is unbelievable beyond my feeble words to describe .

Just got a really nice camera with a way better " macro " than the camera I took this pic with . It will show the detail on the top's cracks .

Aloha

Hurricane Ramon

Rick Turner
09-13-2011, 01:39 AM
One of the problems with the modern glues used by most factories and repair techs (I'm specifically talking Franklin TiteBond here) is that if a seam does open up due to the stress of wood shrinkage...which is what I'd guess is happening here...new glue does not bond well to the old glue stained wood surface in the split seam. The glue will wind up being as much a filler as an adhesive, and you will often feel a slight ridge of glue, especially when the repair then goes through any kind of climate change.

If the seam is not open, I'd live with it and love it as it is. Sometimes the more you try to mess with a repair like this, the worse it gets. If the seam is closed, you're dealing with an aesthetic issue, not a musical or structural one. Personally, I love old instruments that have been played to death and brought back to life with decades of repair work. Look at any old violin; they're full of visible repairs, and I'm talking multi-million dollar Strads, Amatis, and Guarneris. The players don't care; it's the sound they're after.

hmgberg
09-13-2011, 01:57 AM
One of the problems with the modern glues used by most factories and repair techs (I'm specifically talking Franklin TiteBond here) is that if a seam does open up due to the stress of wood shrinkage...which is what I'd guess is happening here...new glue does not bond well to the old glue stained wood surface in the split seam. The glue will wind up being as much a filler as an adhesive, and you will often feel a slight ridge of glue, especially when the repair then goes through any kind of climate change.

If the seam is not open, I'd live with it and love it as it is. Sometimes the more you try to mess with a repair like this, the worse it gets. If the seam is closed, you're dealing with an aesthetic issue, not a musical or structural one. Personally, I love old instruments that have been played to death and brought back to life with decades of repair work. Look at any old violin; they're full of visible repairs, and I'm talking multi-million dollar Strads, Amatis, and Guarneris. The players don't care; it's the sound they're after.

I was visiting a local luthier when he was repairing an old, and apparently quite valuable, violin. It had a lot of work done to it over the centuries. The luthier had the violin apart and was scraping away at some cleats on the top, rendering them nearly transparent. I could see written on the back of the violin the names of everyone who had worked on the instrument with a list of what each one had done and the date the work was performed. The work dated back to the 1700s. It really was charming. The luthier said the owner bought the violin from him and paid "a good price" for it. Which I take to mean he paid a lot of money for it. The luthier was also spending a lot of time on it himself.

When I read what Rick wrote, in this context, I cringed at the thought of replacing the top of the violin with a brand new one. I agree with Rick. If it sounds good and the problem is not structural to the extent that it will lead to the ukulele's demise, I'd live with it if I were you, especially if you love the sound and appearance otherwise.

dkcrown
09-13-2011, 02:15 AM
The idea of replacing the top in my mind is akin to a face transplant, which is now being done with success in this country. It is a complete last resort. You would end up with something that is mostly unrecognizable to you, with a few familliar traits.

I would keep it as is, no matter what happens to the "bump." But considering everything that you have gone through with Kamaka with your uke, why not ask them if you could buy a new uke from them at their cost, in the model of your choice? It is no skin off their back, and would close this case with everyone smiling.

wickedwahine11
09-13-2011, 11:07 AM
One of the problems with the modern glues used by most factories and repair techs (I'm specifically talking Franklin TiteBond here) is that if a seam does open up due to the stress of wood shrinkage...which is what I'd guess is happening here...new glue does not bond well to the old glue stained wood surface in the split seam. The glue will wind up being as much a filler as an adhesive, and you will often feel a slight ridge of glue, especially when the repair then goes through any kind of climate change.

If the seam is not open, I'd live with it and love it as it is. Sometimes the more you try to mess with a repair like this, the worse it gets. If the seam is closed, you're dealing with an aesthetic issue, not a musical or structural one. Personally, I love old instruments that have been played to death and brought back to life with decades of repair work. Look at any old violin; they're full of visible repairs, and I'm talking multi-million dollar Strads, Amatis, and Guarneris. The players don't care; it's the sound they're after.

Rick, thank you so much for an accomplished luthier response. That sounds EXACTLY like what the issue is -- a weird ridge/bump at the seam. But yes, I completely concur. As long as it never reopens up again, I have no intention of having them replace the top. As others have said it would be a completely different uke, and I just love this one too much to do that to her. Hey, I've got a lot of bumps and scars on me, it just adds to her character. Thanks for an explanation that actually makes a lot of sense to me, I appreciate your knowledge base and input.

hmgberg - cool story on the violin. :)

And hey dkcrown -- I felt the same, it is like a face transplant. Of course most of those folks have horrible burns or disfigurement. My Kamaka has more like a small scar or mole...not worth replacing her otherwise beautiful face. :)

Thanks guys...

Piikea
09-21-2011, 01:34 PM
In my experience with Kamaka, going to the store and speaking with them directly is much better than phone conversations and back and forth. You may still have to wait, but at least they will remember who you are and what the problem is with the ukulele.

wickedwahine11
10-12-2011, 11:18 AM
Interesting, so I had noticed that the lump/seam issue was beginning to get a bit bigger and so I sent the following email to Kamaka. "Aloha (name withheld), We spoke about a month ago on Ukulele Underground. To refresh your memory, I sent my HF3 tenor in for a seam repair and refinish back in July, and picked it up from the factory around the last week of August. While I was still in Hawaii (but in Kauai at that point), I noticed that there was a raised lump on the seam so I called and spoke with Chris Kamaka about it and he told me to bring it in so he could see it.

I returned to Oahu a couple of weeks later and had him look at it. At the time he thanked me for bringing it in, and told me that it was unusual and I should keep an eye on it, and that he might have to try to repair it again or even replace the top, and he said he would take care of it. Well in the three weeks since he saw it, the seam is beginning to get even worse. It is not completely open, but the ridge is raised and beginning to open.

I will be back in Oahu again in a couple of weeks, and I was wondering if I could please make an appointment to bring it in so he could examine it again. I am concerned that the seam will continue to worsen at this rate. I dread leaving it for another six week repair, and worse, shudder at the thought of replacing the top - I searched for months to find one with that much curl in the koa. If it is purely superficial, I can live with that, but if it is structural or would become so, that concerns me.

This ukulele is very important to me (as I am sure both Christine and Tekla can tell you), and I don't want to see it get worse. Plus, since I already paid a repair bill of $104 I want to ensure the issue is actually resolved and the uke is in good condition.

I will be in Oahu from Oct. 23 to the 27th. Would it be possible to meet with him and have him look at it on Monday the 25th? Your assistance in letting me know if that is possible would be greatly appreciated. Mahalo nui loa."

I got this today in response, "Thank you for your email. We have actually discussed your ukulele at length because of the following email we received from a customer:

Subject: Hit and miss of Kamaka custom service

Message: Please forward this to Chris and make sure him read the thread personally. I myself is a satisfied Kamaka customer, and holding a custom order of Kamaka on hand so I will keep ordering Kamaka ukulele. However I do think that Kamaka need to improve the area of custom service. I agree on this thread, I don't think Kamaka protects its reputation and somehow hurt the prestige by the quality level of its custom service.

http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/search.php?searchid=2466819
http://www.ukuleleunderground.com/forum/showthread.php?52917-Got-my-Kamaka-back-and-it-is-still-not-right&highlight=wickedwahine11

We apologize for any lack of customer service you felt you received. We honestly felt we accomodated you more than most customers. Again, our apologies.

In our discussions, Casey Kamaka, our luthier (he is the one who actually builds and designs the ukuleles) said he would personally fix it for you. He gave us the same explanation Rick Turner gave you on UU, without having seen the thread. But he was aware of the problem because Dustin Kamaka, our repairman and "luthier apprentice" brought it to his attention when it was still here. Chris Kamaka is the Production Manager and is not a luthier. I hope you understand that when he says, "I'll take care of it," it doesn't mean that he will personally fix it. It means he will be personally responsible for the repair, as he is with all ukuleles, new and repaired.

Chris does the final check on all ukuleles. Note that when the final check is made, the Kamakas are looking for sound quality and completion of repair items, not aesthetics. As Chris mentioned and Casey reiterated, if there is an aesthetic problem which does not affect the sound quality or structural integrity of the instrument, the repair is considered complete. However, they will make an exception with your ukulele. Either way, they will probably need to replace the top.

When you bring your instrument in, Casey will handle it personally. He will try to pick a similar wood if you are not happy with the top and he needs to replace it. Casey is also a Hawaiian Air pilot, so we cannot guarantee that you will be able to see him when you are here. He is usually "on call" and often does not know his flight schedule until the day of his flight. Chris has been traveling a lot lately, as he is also a musician with Ho'okena, Hema Pa'a, and other groups. He may or may not be here, but if he is, he will meet with you. He will not, however, be the one to actually do the repair. Monday is actually the 24th, so let me know if you want me to mark Monday 10/24 or Tuesday 10/25 on the calendar. I will mark the calendar, but again, I will not know until that morning whether or not Chris or Casey will be available.

This "repair", of course, as well as shipping if need be, will be at no charge to you. We look forward to seeing you. Aloha."

I found a couple of things interesting.

1) "We apologize for any lack of customer service you felt you received. We honestly felt we accomodated you more than most customers. Again, our apologies."

I greatly appreciate the apology, though I'm not sure how they accomodated me more. I left it for six weeks, I paid for my shipping it over to them, they released it to me in person and the repair didn't succeed properly. Not to mention that when I called them from Kauai to tell them it was defective (a fact they later allude to already knowing), I was told, "Well I don't know what to tell you, you will have to send it back." There was no apology, not for the bump or the white powder grit swirls all over the uke, which I had to buff out myself.

2) "But he was aware of the problem because Dustin Kamaka, our repairman and "luthier apprentice" brought it to his attention when it was still here."

Really? Well I appreciate that it was made "ready" for me to pick up that day, but if they were aware of it being defective, why on Earth would they not tell me that, or at least not release it to me?

3) "Note that when the final check is made, the Kamakas are looking for sound quality and completion of repair items, not aesthetics...if there is an aesthetic problem which does not affect the sound quality or structural integrity of the instrument, the repair is considered complete. However, they will make an exception with your ukulele. Either way, they will probably need to replace the top."

Again, really? Why would you not care about aesthetics. This is an instrument that while not custom built does cost over $1,000 and I already paid over a $100 for a repair. I don't think I'm asking too much to have it look good, as well as sound good. Now if that is not possible due to the nature of the repair, I can understand that, but if that is the case I think I should have been told that -- either when it was dropped off, repaired or picked up.

Plus, now they are saying they will have to replace the top. I appreciate they are saying that Casey will pick a similar wood, but I really don't want to take that risk sight unseen.

I haven't replied back because I honestly recognize I have been a major pain in the ass to them. Believe me, there is nothing I want more than to put this entire mess behind me. I'm sick of calling them, and corresponding with them, probably almost as sick as they are of hearing from me. Perhaps my expectations are unrealistic.

I don't want anyone to think I disparage their ukuleles. I absolutely DO NOT. I think Kamaka ukuleles are wonderful instruments. I love mine dearly. That is why this is incredibly frustrating for me. If this were one of my other ukes, I wouldn't care half as much as I do about this. I also want to point out that Chris and Fred have been very kind. This is in no way to disparage either of them.

The front office personnel are very nice people, but I think that some (not all) of them have been occasionally dismissive and sarcastic. I realize to them this is just another instrument in a 100 year history of the company. I'm just another person off the street (albeit a very annoying one I'm sure). But to me this instrument is my physical connection to Hawaii. I've owned guitars, basses, keyboards and other ukes. No instrument has ever meant as much to me, or spoken to me like this one has. So if I'm obsessive about it being "repaired" properly, that is why.

Sorry for the long post...but enough people have PM'd me or posted in this thread that I thought it was relevant. And I wanted to give their side of the story as well, direct from them.

I'm still not sure what to do, as I don't want to replace the top (face transplant) without seeing the wood first. And I'm certain they will not allow me to do so (I'd like to point out, I obviously don't think they should have to -- that is just my OCD working, I wouldn't expect any company to have to do that). But I just don't think that I'm willing to leave it to get replaced sight unseen, although I do greatly appreciate their offer to do so free of charge, including return shipping. After all, it took me months to find a tenor with koa that was as curly as I wanted, not to mention the effect it could have on the sound.

So would you guys drop it off and get the face transplant or leave it as is? The bump is permanent, I'm sure of that. The seam is slighly raised right now -- though not completely separated, it is raised. If I knew for a fact it would not completely reopen, I would leave it. If I knew for a fact that it would, I would replace the top. The dilemma is in the not knowing.

mds725
10-12-2011, 12:00 PM
Interesting, so I had noticed that the lump/seam issue was beginning to get a bit bigger and so I sent the following email to Kamaka......... [truncated]

This is a great post. I was too busy reading it a few times to notice whether it was too long.

To answer your specific question, is there any harm in waiting, other than the issue will remain unresolved and lingering? if you truly believe you can live with a raised seam that doesn't turn into an outright separation, you could wait a bit longer to see if the seam continues to change. If it stops or slows down, then you could decide that it won't or is unlikely to open. If it progresses, then you're left with two choices: (1) keep the top you have and end up with a soundboard you love to look at but an ukulele you love dearly but won't be able to play , or (2) risk having an ukulele with a soundboard you don't like the looks of as much but will be able to play. Personally, I'd ask Kamaka to replace the soundboard with a similar piece of curly koa. Now that the folks at Kamaka know that your saga is being followed on the UU forums, my guess is that they will find you the closest thing to the soundboard you have that exists, for fear that you will post photos of the old soundboard and the new soundboard with the caption "A similar wood? Really?" I truly understand your OCD about this, but I'd be willing to trust them, especially if you impress upon whomever you meet with that the asthetics are important to you. I'd also ask Kamaka to preserve for you the soundboard they remove. In California automobile mechanics are required to return replaced parts on request, party to prevent underhanded mechanics from replacing parts that didn't need to be replaced. I'm pretty sure there's no similar requirement for luthiers, but I think if Kamaka understands the sentimental value to you of the old soundboard, they'll let you keep it.

I share your consternation about some of the observations you made. I was surprised that Kamaka felt that it had bent over backward, although it reminded me that perceptions of people to the same transaction can often be very different. Basically, Kamaka admitted that it knew there was a bump on the seam after having made a repair that was supposed to fix that very seam and didn't bother to say something like "We fixed the separation but we were unable to do that without leaving a bump. Please watch it to see if the separation returns." Also, if Kamaka's policy is to check repairs only for sound quality, what does Kamaka do when the repair is for an asthetic problem? If you send an ukulele to Kamaka to repair an asthetic problem that doesn't affect the sound quality, how on Earth does it get checked for "completion of repair"? What if the seam separation didn't affect sound quality? Would a repair then be considered complete following a sound quality check even if the separation remained?

I imagine that now that Kamaka is aware of this thread, someone there will be following it or checking it from time to time. I would encourage people to comment on Kamaka's view of whether it performed the initial repair satisfactorily by fixing the separation in the seam and returning it without mentioning that an asthetic issue that might turn into a sound quality issue remained.

Don't get me wrong. I love all of my Kamaka ukuleles and they are built to an amazingly high standard. And the people I've dealt with in my very limited experience (a tour with Fred, meeting Chris and a few other Kamaka folks at the Northern California Ukulele Festival, and tracking down a missing warranty card for the ukulele I bought at Larry's Music) have been helpful and wonderful. Sometimes the last person to know he needs a haircut is the person whose hair it is, and it is likely to be an ultimately beneficial experience for Kamaka to see how other people perceive its customer service responses in this instance.

I can appreciate that this is an agonizing decision for you. I hope I've helped a little.

Dan Uke
10-12-2011, 12:07 PM
First of all, I don't like the quote "We apologize for any lack of customer service you felt you received. We honestly felt we accomodated you more than most customers. Again, our apologies." That means that most of us won't get that type of service...I guess the squeekiest wheel gets the oil. If I have a problem, I don't want to post it on UU or any other forum but will consider it if I don't get anywhere with the manufacturer.

I think you should definitely change the top. Let's assume you have OCD...LOL...What will bother you more a defect or a perfect uke? Since there is so much advertisement on this uke and the emails sent are now public, do you think Kamaka will send you a plain jane top????? hhhmmmm

foxfair
10-12-2011, 12:20 PM
Aloha WW :)

I think your post is critical to let us know Kamaka does care about their customer service. You may despite the open greetings of politeness it wouldn't mean anything else -- just be polite. For your concern, I know that Kamaka repair a lot of instruments every month or year. I will trust on their experience and skill to bring your instrument back from falling apart. IMHO you don't have to worry about their repair, just prepare to wait for the new top open-up again. You'll probably get a different tone from the same uke, and feel weird at first time. But I am sure you won't regret if you choose this way to solve your problem.

cheers,

foxfair
10-12-2011, 12:24 PM
Probably... yes.
As long as I am still a Kamaka user, I think this type of communication could be shared to each other. Understand that Kamaka still cares about their product, not just their instrument but also repair and CS quality is important to me. If next time my instrument has certain problem, I will still get it fixed by the original company straightly. I don't need to worry about hit and miss again. I think this is the purpose of this thread.

Ronnie Aloha
10-12-2011, 12:36 PM
Gadzukes,

I think that Staci handled it privately but got frustrated after the process and posted her thoughts. If she had gotten A+ service she would have posted that too. I come to this forum to learn about ukes and threads like these give me insight into future purchases.

In my experience, KoAloha has taken care of any repairs that I have had without cost or question. That includes me dropping a uke and cracking the soundboard. My MB developed a less than hair wide separation at the base of the uke where the two binding sides meet and when I sent a photo of it to Chuck his response was, "What can I do to make things right for you?" Granted it was still under warranty but Staci's repair should still have been under warranty too.

To me a uke is a very fragile thing. I consider myself hyper-careful with my ukes but have had multiple issues with some of them and its good to know which companies stand behind their product.

All this being said, I had previously advised Staci to have the top changed out. I told her a friend of mine had hers changed and the replacement was curlier than the original top. You also have to understand how beautiful Staci's wood is too. Its one of the nicest grains I've seen on any uke and she treats it like its her child.

NatalieS
10-12-2011, 01:32 PM
I know this is a really tough, frustrating, emotional decision for you. I think it might take some time for you to make your decision, and that's ok! It needs to be a decision you're fine with.

I think I personally would keep the same top (as long as you're assured that it truly is just aesthetic and not structural in nature). I have memorized every millimeter of my uke, and I think a different soundboard would make it very foreign to me. However, that being said, if you were to change out the top it sounds like Kamaka will try their hardest to make it as close as possible in appearance to your current one. And you could do something special with the old soundboard, like put it in a special frame and display it.

wickedwahine11
10-12-2011, 01:42 PM
Just want to say one last thing, I completely understand the belief that this should not be discussed here. I get that. I also get they probably were not thrilled with me discussing it here, and they have every right to that opinion. But I would wager that they were probably thrilled when they asked me to help them with an issue on UU a while back (not to go into it here but they contacted me about a prior thread and asked me to explain their position online). I would wager they also were very happy with me extolling the virtues of Kamaka ukuleles (of which I do happen to feel there are many) on UU -- which I have done repeatedly since I bought mine in 2009 (and continue to do with the only caveat being that KoAloha's warranty and service are superior, which I doubt few of us would argue).

Let me tell you why I disagree though. I'm not slamming Kamaka, to the contrary. I'm a huge Kamaka fan. I love their ukes to death and my Kamaka in particular. I'm just not entirely happy with the way that this particular repair has gone down, especially if they thought there was an issue before they even gave it back to me. I also said I thought that some of their folks were wonderful, and some of my dealings were a little bit less pleasant. But in no way do I dislike them or their ukuleles. As I said before, I have five of their tshirts, three of their Reyn Spooner aloha shirts, a hat, a visor, and a freaking framed Kamaka painting in a koa wood frame in my office. I am an OG Kamaka fangirl. But I don't think that means I have to always agree 100% with them. Plus, by putting their email to me out here I feel I'm doing two things: 1) getting their side of the story told, 2) telling others who might be in a similar boat down the road about my experience. It was never my intention to lay out the "dirty laundry" to harm them -- only to report that after the repair it still wasn't fixed, and to report their response back so their side was told.

As for the venting/therapy thing, I see your argument and there is some truth to it. My friends and family don't play the ukulele. The only people that I hang out with that do are you guys (even if that hanging out is virtual and online). Nobody else will understand my internal struggle over whether to swap the top more than UU folks would.

I'm not trying to be overly defensive, truly I'm not -- and I know tone and so forth are lost in the internet ether. I truly do respect and value your opinion and see a perfectly valid point there. And if anyone feels the topic should be shut down, I fully respect any moderator's choice to do so. But I told nothing but the truth, and honestly felt that I was reaching for some opinions as to what I should do from here (and thanks guys, points taken on both sides of the issue).

Hippie Dribble
10-12-2011, 01:46 PM
Just want to say one last thing, I completely understand the belief that this should not be discussed here. I get that. I also get they probably were not thrilled with me discussing it here, and they have every right to that opinion. But I would wager that they were probably thrilled when they asked me to help them with an issue on UU a while back (not to go into it here but they contacted me about a prior thread and asked me to explain their position online). I would wager they also were very happy with me extolling the virtues of Kamaka ukuleles (of which I do happen to feel there are many) on UU -- which I have done repeatedly since I bought mine in 2009 (and continue to do with the only caveat being that KoAloha's warranty and service are superior, which I doubt few of us would argue).

Let me tell you why I disagree though. I'm not slamming Kamaka, to the contrary. I'm a huge Kamaka fan. I love their ukes to death and my Kamaka in particular. I'm just not entirely happy with the way that this particular repair has gone down, especially if they thought there was an issue before they even gave it back to me. I also said I thought that some of their folks were wonderful, and some of my dealings were a little bit less pleasant. But in no way do I dislike them or their ukuleles. As I said before, I have five of their tshirts, three of their Reyn Spooner aloha shirts, a hat, a visor, and a freaking framed Kamaka painting in a koa wood frame in my office. I am an OG Kamaka fangirl. But I don't think that means I have to always agree 100% with them. Plus, by putting their email to me out here I feel I'm doing two things: 1) getting their side of the story told, 2) telling others who might be in a similar boat down the road about my experience. It was never my intention to lay out the "dirty laundry" to harm them -- only to report that after the repair it still wasn't fixed, and to report their response back so their side was told.

As for the venting/therapy thing, I see your argument and there is some truth to it. My friends and family don't play the ukulele. The only people that I hang out with that do are you guys (even if that hanging out is virtual and online). Nobody else will understand my internal struggle over whether to swap the top more than UU folks would.

I'm not trying to be overly defensive, truly I'm not -- and I know tone and so forth are lost in the internet ether. I truly do respect and value your opinion and see a perfectly valid point there. And if anyone feels the topic should be shut down, I fully respect any moderator's choice to do so. But I told nothing but the truth, and honestly felt that I was reaching for some opinions as to what I should do from here (and thanks guys, points taken on both sides of the issue).
Great post Staci. :)

dkcrown
10-12-2011, 02:20 PM
Staci, IMO there is no OCD here on your part. As I said before in this thread, you are just looking to get what you paid for, a properly repaired ukulele to your satisfaction. At this point that has not, and apparently will not happen.

For that reason I would opt for the face transplant. That bump in the seam will always be there and it is obvious that it bothers you. I am sure that Kamaka will choose a fantastic replacement soundboard for you. I believe that in the end, you would be happiest with that decision.

And I think that this is the exact place where these issues should be discussed. That is why it is called a forum. You attempted to have your customer service issue resolved privately and when that did not occur, turned to your friends here for advice. From your posts in this thread it is more than obvious that you are not just slinging arrows. As a matter of fact I think that you have bent over backwards trying to paint Kamaka in as favorable light as possible. For that I commend you. Many here would have taken a different approach.

Dan Uke
10-12-2011, 02:40 PM
Totally agree wtih dkcrown...I believe that is what forums are for: Positive and Negative. I just know there are few on their soap box always preaching don't bring out the dirt on manufacturers or this site should be about positive stuff only.

dredey
10-12-2011, 02:59 PM
IMO no problems whatsoever bringing this topic up in a forum. That's what forums are for. Advise good or bad is one of many topics being discussed in forums. It is precisely what I believe these forums are built for.

hmgberg
10-12-2011, 04:31 PM
Whoa! I absolutely agree that these discussions are appropriate for the forum. Were we to be dissuaded from being critical, then the "Ukulele Reviews" section should be eliminated. That said, I think the Kamakas care about their reputation and will be inclined to try everything in their power to satisfy you.

In another lifetime I ran a family home-building business. As you might imagine, many things go wrong in the process of building a home. Subcontractors goof up; suppliers send the wrong materials; something freakish happens with the weather, and things have to be torn off and redone; and so on, ad infinitum. What I mean to say is that problems will happen is a forgone conclusion. It's what you do about them that really matters. It's what customers remember. That's why even though our warranty on every little thing was 18 months in duration, I'd send people to repair problems that arose ten years after the house closed. Why? Because it was an opportunity to have people talking about the fact that we would do that. It's better advertising than you could pay for in any other way. That's why I loved customers like Staci, customers who essentially were over the moon about my product to begin with, as she is about her Kamaka, and there was just this one thing that I had to do that would have them saying the most positive things about my company to everyone they met.

In 20 years, I had only a handful of clients who I realized were never going to be satisfied, no matter what I did for them. Clearly not the case here.

You might have a look at the "smart ass" thread I started in the luthier's forum entitled, "Ken Timms Loses His Mind," to see the lengths some luthiers will go to satisfy not only customers, but themselves. I think the Kamakas will do right by you. By the way, I love my Kamaka, too.

Gadzukes!
10-12-2011, 05:40 PM
Thanks for the input, and for everyone's reasoned response. I actually deleted my post only a couple minutes after posting it, because I decided I was being too sensitive. I wasn't fast enough and got quoted. :)

I hope you can get a good resolution to this!

foxfair
10-12-2011, 05:52 PM
@Gadzukes, I hope that you won't take my quote offensively. That is not my attempt to distress someone on the forum.
I too hope that this issue will be resolved in a happy ending, sooner or later.

joejeweler
10-12-2011, 07:06 PM
Totally agree wtih dkcrown...I believe that is what forums are for: Positive and Negative. I just know there are few on their soap box always preaching don't bring out the dirt on manufacturers or this site should be about positive stuff only.


Whoa! I absolutely agree that these discussions are appropriate for the forum. Were we to be dissuaded from being critical, then the "Ukulele Reviews" section should be eliminated. That said, I think the Kamakas care about their reputation and will be inclined to try everything in their power to satisfy you...........


Easier said than done........

I also thought these forums were a place for open and honest discussions on both the positive, and at times,... some negative aspects of a particular instrument. But when you get slammed for a thread where NO particular builder is specifically mentioned, presenting a real issue noticed with ukes built by 3 different anonymous builders, you tend not to want to present anything.

Having to not only think about what you wish to present and picture, but also try to disect in advance every possible perseived inference or assumption,......is not how i want to spend my time.

I applaud Staci for her presentation of an issue with her well loved ukulele, and hope she can get it resolved to her satisfaction. (or at least come to accept it as best she can if she decides to not replace the top).

The fact that she has not been castigated (or banned) offers hope that open and honest discussion can be realized on these forums, ..... when presented fairly as was done here. I'm not sure if chromosome makeup made the difference in treatment, but this "XY" guy doubts the direction of the thread would have remained as civil had i started a similiar post. :o

mm stan
10-12-2011, 07:42 PM
Aloha Staci,
Whew long long post....hee hee I am trying not to be judgemental on both sides and avoid fueling it further...the main thing is they agreed to work on it for you again and I hope it turns out
the way you expect it to..Good Luck and keep us informed...

peterp
10-12-2011, 07:42 PM
This is really unfortunate since you are a big Kamaka fan and it's a special uke. Have you thought of taking it to another luthier on Oahu? A second opinion. I know that Ko'olau used to do quite a bit of repair work before their business took off. They do excellent work. I'd try and save the wood.

scottie
10-14-2011, 12:09 AM
I am actually hoping it just stays the way it is, just because I love the looks and sound of this uke so much, and such a radical "plastic surgery" would change the entire nature of this uke. But I am really glad I took it in, so at least he knows the issue exists, plus, it confirmed I wasn't crazy as he acknowledged it wasn't perfect, so at least he is on notice.

I think you've kind of answered all your questions for yourself. Most importantly it isn't affecting the sound. Secondly, you love the top you have; having it replaced would mean gambling you may get a top you don't like as much or you may get one that's cooler. . . but. . .

Everyone's different concerning their instruments. Things I use tend to get little scars that come from use and the occasional mishap. I use my instruments lots, play out and I'm sort of a trip over the shoelaces while wearing loafers kind of guy. Some people manage to keep their instruments in pristine condition, almost like they've never been touched. . . which sometimes makes me wonder. . .

I totally get your feeling, though, It's an issue that's not caused by you and it's nice to feel you've gotten what you've paid for. I hope it works out for the best.

wickedwahine11
10-14-2011, 02:15 AM
Thanks a lot to everyone for their input, much appreciated. It looks like my decision may have been made for me though. It actually isn't the bump, I can live with that. But the seam that had raised is now longer, and starting to separate so it is getting worse - at this point the repair isn't even working. I've got it humidifier in an effort to close that seam back up but I may not have any choice any more. I haven't heard back from my last email to them yet so I may just have to take it in after all. :(

Doc_J
10-14-2011, 02:29 AM
This may have been discussed before, but in order to keep the soundboard you like would you consider taking it to local or regional luthier for repair?

Yeah, I know that a 3rd party repair may violate the warranty. But if Kamaka is going to cut it off as a repair, is there any harm in a 2nd professional repair attempt, or at least another professional repair opinion?

joejeweler
10-14-2011, 04:41 AM
This may have been discussed before, but in order to keep the soundboard you like would you consider taking it to local or regional luthier for repair?

Yeah, I know that a 3rd party repair may violate the warranty. But if Kamaka is going to cut it off as a repair, is there any harm in a 2nd professional repair attempt, or at least another professional repair opinion?

I'm wondering something similiar. As Rick mentioned previously the glue seam, once separated, can have a tough time
attaining a solid repair if the old glue impregnated surfaces prevent the new glue from adhearing. Not exactly like you can clear out the old glue and add fresh in that location, especially with what was probably used. (titebond?) This is one area hot hide glue at that seam might be easier to get to re-adhere, but i doubt that is the case here.

I propose this "possibility", since you like the top you have, and the replacement option is always a last resort. You have a "2-piece" top now, but i'm thinking a solid repair could be achieved converting it to a "3-piece" top of sorts.

The luthiers here might know for sure if it feasable, but i'm picturing a thin (maybe a few mm's wide) strip be fitted in the seam after the old seam is routed out to just prior to the bracing. A piece of wooden binding material, such as provided by stewmac (which is pretty well dimentioned), could then be glued into the channel, much like a back strip is often added.

Using a similar color/grain koa it might be relatively unnoticable, or you could opt to go with a contrasting wood such as ebony and look at as a sort of well earned battle scar! A sort of uke C-section,.....and you get to keep your "baby"! :o

This way the wood has a great chance of staying together because the glue edges are all fresh. I suspect the bridge could even stay put, and rout as close as possible on either side, and hand finish a bit closer with some small gravers perhaps. You're only going to be able to get so close to the fingerboard anyway, unless the repairman opts to remove both the bridge and fingerboard to make the new seam a solid run.

Anyway,.....just throwing this out as an option, and at least the change shouldn't alter the sound of this favorite uke of yours too much, if any. And you keep the original top! (or 98% of it :D)

I believe it is an option i would try if i were in the same situation. Possibly Kamaka would be willing to do the work?

Mandarb
10-14-2011, 04:46 AM
I'm wondering something similiar. As Rick mentioned previously the glue seam, once separated, can have a tough time
attaining a solid repair if the old glue impregnated surfaces prevent the new glue from adhearing. Not exactly like you can clear out the old glue and add fresh in that location, especially with what was probably used. (titebond?) This is one area hot hide glue at that seam might be easier to get to re-adhere, but i doubt that is the case here.

I propose this "possibility", since you like the top you have, and the replacement option is always a last resort. You have a "2-piece" top now, but i'm thinking a solid repair could be achieved converting it to a "3-piece" top of sorts.

The luthiers here might know for sure if it feasable, but i'm picturing a thin (maybe a few mm's wide) strip be fitted in the seam after the old seam is routed out to just prior to the bracing. A piece of wooden binding material, such as provided by stewmac (which is pretty well dimentioned), could then be glued into the channel, much like a back strip is often added.

Using a similar color/grain koa it might be relatively unnoticable, or you could opt to go with a contrasting wood such as ebony and look at as a sort of well earned battle scar!

This way the wood has a great chance of staying together because the glue edges are all fresh. I suspect the bridge could even stay put, and rout as close as possible on either side, and hand finish a bit closer with some small gravers perhaps. You're only going to be able to get so close to the fingerboard anyway, unless the repairman opts to remove both the bridge and fingerboard to make the new seam a solid run.

Anyway,.....just throwing this out as an option, and at least the change shouldn't alter the sound of this favorite uke of yours too much, if any.

I belive it is an option i would try if i were in the same situation.

Kinda like the back of Martin D-35.

guitharsis
10-14-2011, 05:10 AM
If you do opt for a new top, why could't you be given a choice between two or three? You've been such a good "Kamaka representative" here and deserve to have great customer service. Good luck, Staci. Hope you get fast satisfactory service.

Edit: Stan's suggestion sounds good too.

mm stan
10-14-2011, 05:41 AM
Thanks a lot to everyone for their input, much appreciated. It looks like my decision may have been made for me though. It actually isn't the bump, I can live with that. But the seam that had raised is now longer, and starting to separate so it is getting worse - at this point the repair isn't even working. I've got it humidifier in an effort to close that seam back up but I may not have any choice any more. I haven't heard back from my last email to them yet so I may just have to take it in after all. :(
Aloha Staci,
Sounds like this kamaka has alot of sentimental value to you....would you be willing to take a chance and get a new one...who knows it might sound a whole lot better than the one you have, then again it's gamble...but when you can try the new one side by side with yours and make a decision from there.......and then you can forget the headaches with this one.....would Kamaka exchange yours for a new one or give you credit for a new one??? how would that work for you??? you keep banging your head with them, try a different approach with them, you might get better results..Good Luck...

Gadzukes!
10-14-2011, 05:51 AM
Any possibility we could get some pictures of the problem so we can all see what the issue is?

v30
10-14-2011, 06:21 AM
I hope they look after you pronto and it doesn't cost you any more money.